CLEVELAND (WJW) — More than 1,500 people are protesting outside Cleveland’s second district police station right now in the name of Desmond Franklin.
The rally, organized by Black Lives Matter Cleveland, began at 2 p.m. today.
The group made its way around the area and at one point walked up a highway exit off I-71. The northbound lane was temporarily shut down by troopers.
Franklin was shot and killed in April by an off-duty Cleveland Police officer who was driving an unmarked vehicle, according to the NAACP Cleveland branch.
After an exchange of words at a local convenient store, both Franklin and the officer departed in their separate vehicles and were stopped at the light parallel to one another on Pearl Road.
The officer alleged that Franklin brandished a gun at him and later reported that he thought he had been shot. That’s when the officer opened fire through his vehicle’s window and shot Franlin in the head. This caused him to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a cemetery. He died.
Franklin’s teenage passenger ran out of the vehicle to search for help.
Meanwhile, the officer contacted Cleveland dispatch and reported the incident as self-defense because of the alleged exchange of gunfire between the two parties.
Now, on Saturday, Northeast Ohioans are demonstrating for justice. FOX 8 I-TEAM sources say attorneys for the Franklin family are expected to speak at the rally.
This protest comes just one week after protesters gathered in downtown Cleveland in the name of George Floyd.
Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day after an officer put his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than 8 minutes. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder.
The three other officers at the scene — Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao — were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. All four were fired following the incident.
Demonstrations have taken place across the nation and in Northeast Ohio since Floyd’s death and continue through this weekend.
Last Saturday, the demonstration that took place in downtown Cleveland left significant damage across the city. It began peacefully before escalating Saturday afternoon. Several businesses were heavily damaged, vehicles were set on fire and some officers were injured. There have been over 100 arrests in the Cleveland protests.
Police are currently reviewing video evidence connected to the downtown rioting incidents and investigating some complaints against officers. All of the investigations are in the early stages.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams told the I-TEAM on Friday that the department has plans in place to make sure the rioting that happened following last Saturday’s peaceful protest does not happen this weekend.